UPDATE, 9:11: Ramon Ramirez gets the job done. After coming in relief of Dice-K, RamRam stranded Morales and earned three outs to keep the Sox's lead at 2-0.
UPDATE, 9:02: And that's it for Dice-K. He walked the first batter of the 7th inning and Terry Francona came out to give him the yank. However, he got a standing ovation and he tipped his cap. Certainly a nice sight to see.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Daisuke Matsuzaka is back and I'm ready for October.
UPDATE, 8:53: A bases loaded single for David Ortiz scores Ellsbury and gives the Sox a 2-0 lead. Mike Lowell is up with the bases still juiced.
UPDATE, 8:47: This is how you score runs: single, bunt, bunt. Alex Gonzalez just came around on a John Lackey throwing error to try and catch him at third on the Dustin Pedroia bunt. 1-0, Sox. Ellsbury (3rd) and Pedroia (2nd) are on base with no outs.
UPDATE, 8:41: If Dice-K pitches like this every time I live blog, I might as well continue to do it.
After giving up a double in the 6th, Dice-K settled down to strike out Vlad and then work a lineout to Lowell to end the inning. That's six inning of no-run baseball. This is the Dice-K we all know and love. And if this Dice-K sticks around, then I can't wait for October.
UPDATE, 8:26: Welcome back, Mr. Houdini. After giving up the Morales single, Aybar singled, too, putting men on first and third. Aybar then stole, putting more pressure on Dice-K. But! That's when Dice-K buckled down and struck out Mathis and Figgins to end the inning.
UPDATE, 8:18: And the no-hitter is gone. Kendry Morales just dropped in a single to right field to start off the fifth inning. Let's hope Dice-K buckles down and gets out of the inning.
UPDATE, 8:06: Dice-K continues to make the Angels batters look like Single-A'ers. Matsuzaka just pitched another solid inning, striking out one in the fourth inning. As of now, Dice-K has allowed no hits, no runs, two walks and struck out two.
Now, the offense needs to support him.
UPDATE, 7:51: Good news: Daisuke hasn't blown up yet.
After a pop up and a strikeout (his first of the night), he walked Figgins (again) on four pitches, but then notched the last out with a fly out to J.D. Drew. In three innings of work, Dice-K has given up no hits and two walks. I'll take that. How about you?
UPDATE, 7:36: Don Orsillo just used the word 'nifty' to describe a Dice-K inning! Matsuzaka just induced two groundballs and a pop up to Dustin Pedroia to get through a very quick second inning. He was around the plate, which is always a nice site. NESN showed Dice-K doing long toss (essentially) from behind the mound to Jason Varitek before the second inning started. Interesting approach -- I suggest he does that every time he heads out.
UPDATE, 7:25: I know winning every game is important, but looking at this one specifically, are we really looking for the win? Just hear me out: this game is all about Dice-K. If he pitches great, but the Sox lose, it's not much of a heartbreak, right? On the flip side, if Dice-K does great and the Sox win, then geez, that cherry tastes pretty dang sweet.
UPDATE, 7:20: A leadoff walk and a stolen base by Figgins, but that's it in Dice-K's first inning back. A flyout and a groundout for Matsuzaka in the inning, who threw almost entirely fastballs. While he wasn't very efficient, he earned the outs.
UPDATE, 7:13: Dice-K walks Figgins to start the game, but the good thing: he pounded the strike zone with a fastball in the 93-94 MPH range. That's a nice sight to see, despite losing Figgins to a walk.
UPDATE, 7:11: Dice-K's first pitch: a strike. That's what I like to see.
UPDATE, 6:51: The anticipation is killing me, but not really. Dice-K will have to win tonight's game without Kevin Youkilis (back spasms) or Victor Martinez (personal issues). Let's hope he won't need to rely on them.
With Daisuke Matsuzaka making his return, I figured I'd do live updates to follow his start. Depending on how well he pitches, I might be done very quickly. Make sure to check for updates as the game goes on.
Here's the series outlook, with the Angels sending out Whacky John Lackey tonight:
3 game series vs Angels @ Fenway Park
|7:10 PM EDT
|7:10 PM EDT